Waste Management Industry Survey: Business Sector

Detailed information for 2004




Every 2 years

Record number:


This survey collects information that will help Canadians understand the contributions made by waste management industry to Canada's economy and environment.

Data release - August 30, 2006


The survey provides businesses, local governments, Environment Canada and various other public and private clients with comprehensive and comparable information on waste management financial and employment characteristics. It also collects information on waste collection, disposal and recycling quantities reported by businesses that provide waste management services.

Waste and recycling quantity data are combined with parallel data from the Waste Management Industry Survey: Government Sector (record number: 1736).

Reference period: Fiscal year

Collection period: April to August following the reference year


  • Environment
  • Pollution and waste

Data sources and methodology

Target population

The survey frame was based on information from the previous survey, supplemented and updated with information from the Statistics Canada Business Register (BR) and industry directories. Firms selected from the BR are a subset of the Waste Management and Remediation Services, North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) 562.

Businesses falling into the following NAICS classifications are considered to be "in scope" for the Waste Management Industry Survey: Business Sector: 56211, Waste Collection; 56221, Waste Treatment and Disposal; and 56292, Material Recovery Facilities.

Note that missing from this list of classifications is NAICS 56291, Remediation Services. While in the same NAICS grouping as the waste management industry, this industry is not included as it does not provide waste management services as defined by the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment.

Instrument design

The majority of the questions remain unchanged from cycle to cycle. However, a module of questions that are of specific interest to Statistics Canada is introduced on a one-time basis each cycle. Before these questions are incorporated into the final version of the questionnaire, they are reviewed internally and by industry experts external to Statistics Canada.


This survey is a census with a cross-sectional design.

Data are collected for all units of the target population, therefore, no sampling is done.

Data sources

Responding to this survey is mandatory.

Data are collected directly from survey respondents.

Data collection for both sectors took place during the spring and summer of 2005. Survey questionnaires were mailed to a total of 1 376 businesses and local governments. The responses were returned by mail. The questionnaires were addressed to a contact person who was either responsible for, or had knowledge of, the waste management operations of the survey unit. For businesses that had operations in more than one province, a separate questionnaire was completed for each province in which the waste management business operated. For example, a business with operations in three provinces completed three questionnaires, each one describing the activities within a province. This was not a concern for the local government survey.

Follow-ups by fax and/or telephone were carried out after the return due date to remind respondents to return their questionnaires.

View the Questionnaire(s) and reporting guide(s).

Error detection

Many factors affect the accuracy of data produced in a survey. For example, respondents may have made errors in interpreting questions, answers may have been incorrectly entered on the questionnaires, and errors may have been introduced during the data capture or tabulation process. Every effort is made to reduce the occurrence of such errors in the survey. These efforts included: a complete verification of keyed data, validity and consistency edits, extensive follow-up with the large businesses, and consultation with selected government departments and industry associations.


Programs written in MS FoxPro are used to impute missing financial and employment cells. Donor records are identified from valid and complete responses and missing values are imputed from these donor records. For missing waste and recyclable quantity values, historical data are used to impute for the current cycle. Where no historical data exist or they are incomplete, administrative data obtained from provincial/territorial and other sources are used.


This methodology type does not apply to this statistical program.

Quality evaluation

One way to assess data quality is to compare it to the trends of other data collected. For example, comparing the waste statistics for 2004 with those for 2002, it is apparent that there has been substantial growth in the Canadian waste management industry. On a per capita basis, more non-hazardous waste was disposed and prepared for recycling during 2004 than in 2002.

Comparing the waste data with known economic trends is another way of validating the data. Economic growth is one indicator of the general state of the economy. Positive growth indicates an active economy: more money spent on goods and services contribute to an increase in waste production.

In addition to these comparisons, data are compared to those published by other organizations such as provincial governments and cities. If there are significant differences between the different sets of comparable data, these must be accounted for and explained. This also applies to cases where there are large positive or negative changes in the data values from cycle to cycle.

Disclosure control

Statistics Canada is prohibited by law from releasing any data which would divulge information obtained under the Statistics Act that relates to any identifiable person, business or organization without the prior knowledge or the consent in writing of that person, business or organization. Various confidentiality rules are applied to all data that are released or published to prevent the publication or disclosure of any information deemed confidential. If necessary, data are suppressed to prevent direct or residual disclosure of identifiable data.

Two stages of disclosure control are used. MS FoxPro programs specifically written to identify cells that may contain confidential data are run against the cross tabulations. A decision is then made whether to suppress cells or to aggregate cells to avoid disclosure. The second step is an intensive peer review of all tabular data prior to publication. This manual verification ensures that both inter and intra tabular comparisons cannot be made that may lead to disclosure of confidential data.

Revisions and seasonal adjustment

This methodology does not apply to this survey.

Data accuracy

The accuracy of data collected in a census survey is affected by non-sampling error. Examples of non- sampling error include coverage error, data response error, non-response error, and processing errors. Every effort is made to reduce these types of errors including verification of keyed data, consistency and validity edits, extensive follow up and consultation with government departments and industry associations.

For additional information on data accuracy, please follow the link below.

Report a problem on this page

Is something not working? Is there information outdated? Can't find what you're looking for?

Please contact us and let us know how we can help you.

Privacy notice

Date modified: